The United States has called on all its citizens in Ukraine to leave the country before Monday, as war in Europe now appears imminent.
The United States suspects that Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has decided to invade Ukraine even before the end of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. National Security Advisor of the US, Jake Sullivan, said Friday (11 February) after security talks at the White House that there is "an imminent threat”, but he did not say whether US officials had determined whether President Putin had made a final decision on a course of action. According to Sullivan, Russia has the military troops in place to invade Ukraine "at any time" and "American citizens should leave within the next 48 hours".
The UK, the Netherlands and Latvia are among the countries that have also told their citizens in Ukraine to leave immediately. The EU has told its non-essential staff in Kyiv to leave also.
Earlier on Friday, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, had already said at a press conference in Australia that there were "very worrying signs of Russian escalation".
“We’re in a window when an invasion could begin at any time. And, to be clear, that includes during the Winter Olympics”, Blinken.
While Sullivan and US President, Joe Biden, aides did not publicly confirm a specific date on which Russia might invade Ukraine, three official sources in Washington and Europe pointed to 16 February, as a possible date for a Russian invasion, according to intelligence shared with them by the US, writes Politico on Friday evening.
On Friday, US President, Joe Biden, also informed leaders of NATO and the European Union of the suspected Russian intentions. He reportedly urged emergency meetings with leaders from France, Germany, Italy and Canada, among others, after the discussion at the White House, to share new information and exchange ideas on how to make a joint front against the Russian threat.
The US deployed additional forces on NATO's eastern flank in response to the emergency, including 3,000 troops from the 82nd Airborne Infantry Brigade Combat Team to Poland to shield Eastern Europe from a potential spillover from the crisis over the massing of Russian troops near Ukraine. This brings the total number of US military troops sent to Poland and Germany to 5,000, adding to the 2,000 troops deployed there last week.
Russia has repeatedly denied plans to invade Ukraine.